Updated: Aug 25
The old way of running HR and people operations is killing the employee experience, and you risk losing your employees because of that.
Simple computer admin is the most hated task of today’s desk workers – and most see admin automation as the direct responsibility of their employers (87% of surveyed workers, according to a report by Automation Anywhere). The vast majority – 85% – would prefer to work for a company that optimizes admin processes and reduces manual admin tasks.
So, why are so many companies still struggling to streamline the way their IT and HR departments are working, and how can you improve your administrative processes and the employee experience at the same time?
In this article, we’ll look into the reason behind this problem – and give you actionable ideas on how to streamline admin work in a meaningful way.
Why is admin work killing your employee experience?
Manual admin work is simply not compatible with providing a great employee experience – and for two main reasons:
HR staff is too busy doing admin: If your HR team is too busy doing admin, this means they’re unable to do strategic work and invest resources in improving the employee experience. Instead of building truly people-centric processes, your staff is busy dealing with administrative tasks to keep the lights on.
Employees are also too busy with admin, which they hate: Even in highly digitized companies using lots of software, people spend on average 3 hours per day on basic computer admin tasks such as inputting data from an email into an application. This takes time away from employees’ core responsibilities and can be particularly demotivating.
Both are related to the fact that for most organizations, information is scattered across many different systems and tools which are not connected to each other. In particular, people operations related to HR, IT, payroll or finance operate across a highly scattered set of tools – making information difficult to locate, manage, and update. Updates need to be done manually and email is still widely used to transmit information, which is neither productive nor secure.
In addition to that, most tools aren’t built around employees’ needs, but around HR processes and use cases – which can mean anything from bad design to functional inefficiencies, depending on the specific tools you’re using.
What do your employees think about your manual people operations processes?
You see it happening time and time again. Early employees of some of the most successful startups quit the minute their shares have vested. What is the reason?
One of the most cited reasons: The company culture isn’t what it used to be, flat hierarchies fueled by a go-get attitude have been replaced with bureaucracy, systems and overhead that is robbing employees' time and creativity, and is attracting a new type of coworker into the company, one that prefers process of progress.
Even if your people ops processes and tools seem fine to you, you should consider your employees’ point of view.
Building your core people processes the old way using a bunch of disconnected tools and forms hacked together might seem like a good enough solution for you personally at the moment, and you might not necessarily see a reason to change things now.
But just because that works OK for you does not mean your team thinks it is a good way of doing things, and they are typically the ones suffering from mistakes that happen as a result, such as unpaid salaries.
Even if they’re not vocal about it, employees take notice of how you work. If your people processes are manual and inefficient, consider this:
How does this affect the perception of the HR department? If most interactions with HR are related to admin and overhead, employees avoid interacting with HR altogether, and CEOs see HR as a cost center not worth investing in. Employee touch points with HR, ironically, negatively impact employee experience.
How does this inefficiency affect your employer brand? Perhaps it creates a worse impression of your business than you’d like, meaning that employees would be less likely to stay or recommend you to their peers.
What’s the example you’re giving? Perhaps most importantly, employees assume that it’s OK to be inefficient in their work and waste time on things they should look to do in a smarter way. Do not expect your employees to work efficiently if you are not running your company efficiently internally.
Employees would love to see better, more efficient processes in place – but they might never say anything about it. Instead, they might simply leave for an employer who understands that and has the right systems in place.
In addition to that, today, people want to be able to self-serve, i.e. be independent and be in charge of the decisions that affect them, rather than wait for managers to approve a vacation request or update their pension plan.
So, what can you do about all this? Let’s look at the solutions.
Here’s how to improve your employee experience (and kill admin instead)
You may think admin is necessary. You cannot simply get rid of it. There’s a smarter way to do it, though – one that takes less resources and provides a better experience to everyone involved, HR and IT staff included.
To improve the employee experience, you need to eliminate manual admin work as much as possible, and look to continuously improve your processes via automation and self-service options. And today you have the tools to do just that, without taking away any crucial functions.
For this, you can use a modern employee platform like Zelt, which streamlines and automates your admin – this way, everyone will spend less time on it and be able to concentrate on other, more important tasks: the HR team on building a leading employer brand and strong culture that is truly employee centric, and employees on their primary job. Which, in turn, directly affects motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction.
A modern employee platform like Zelt:
Connects all your systems: Instead of having your data live in 5 different silos and manually updating each one, you can connect all systems – IT, HR, payroll, finance – and have them speak to each other automatically, via a single platform.
Reduces the time spent on manual work: Because your systems are connected, all data is updated automatically in real time. No more manual data entry or endless email threads.
Enables employees to self-serve: Today’s employees want to be in charge of the things that impact them: their pension contributions, time off, benefits, hardware, access to apps, payslips, and more. With the right platform, you can give them the freedom to manage all that – and empower them to do their best work.
Minimises distractions: Deep work is a rare commodity – but one that provides outstanding results. Reduce administrative distractions to a minimum and help your employees achieve more.
Gives your employees all the resources they need in a single location: Looking for information is the second biggest productivity drain for knowledge workers. The first one? Email. Both account for nearly 50% of workers’ time. Reduce that to a minimum by consolidating everything in a single location.
What will this help you achieve?
Reducing mundane admin tasks to a minimum has a number of benefits you’ll start seeing in the first few weeks or even days after you make the switch. What can you expect from
With the right platform, you’ll be able to:
Improve the employee experience and satisfaction
The employee experience should be at the forefront of your priorities – companies who continuously invest in the employee experience are 4 times more profitable than those that don’t.
Streamline admin and eliminate manual data entry (the most hated office task!) to show your employees you value their skills and time, and want to provide them the best conditions to succeed.
Plus, concentrating all admin functions in a single platform helps eliminate the risk of errors and data breaches – and nothing can hurt the employee experience more than paying the wrong salaries or exposing personal data.
Improve employee productivity
Reducing the admin load on your employees gives them more time and mental energy to concentrate on their core responsibilities, be more efficient, and achieve more.
With a platform that is built around employees’ needs, your people get to decide how to organize their day-to-day work.
Streamline onboarding & offboarding
The onboarding experience sets the tone of all future interactions between you and your employees, which means it’s crucially important to get it right.
If you have an efficient, well-structured, automated onboarding process, this helps employees reach their peak productivity faster and motivates them to stay longer with the company – and sets you apart as an employer who’s laser-focused on enabling them to do their best work. Onboarding time is also significantly reduced.
Successful offboarding, on the other hand, helps end the employee journey in a positive way and not burn bridges between you and your ex-employees – and also, close all accounts and kill access to company systems and data.
Enable HR to focus on strategic work
One of the most meaningful ways to reform your HR function and give it the strategic role it needs to have is by improving and simplifying admin processes and facilitating decision making. If your HR staff is busy with administrative tasks, this leaves little room for strategic work centered around your employees and their experience, and stands in the way of fast, good decision making.
Modern employee platforms are reshaping the way HR staff handles admin, as they leverage the power of automation, combined with a self-serve approach to many processes. Additionally, they integrate different silos and functions (IT, HR, finance, payroll) in a single platform, which greatly reduces the number of emails HR needs to exchange with other departments.
This enables HR to focus on strategic work, such as improving employee satisfaction and retention, and investing in talent optimization and development.
To improve the employee experience, fix people operations
To empower your employees, you need to rethink the way you currently run HR and IT – and modernize both to make them fit your employees’ needs. The employee experience is closely related to whether employees feel they are able to do their best work consistently and contribute to the success of the business in a meaningful way – and too often, overhead stands in the way.
Employees need to have the right tools, resources, and freedom to make decisions, and not have their hands tied by slow and inefficient administrative processes – or spend hours on admin work each week. And with the help of a modern employee platform like Zelt, it has never been easier to reform HR and IT and make them serve your employees better.